9. Company Flow - Funcrusher Plus
Smart, esoteric, funny, and utterly mind-blowing, Funcrusher Plus ushered in a new era in alternative hip-hop.
8. Missy Elliott - Supa Dupa Fly
Rather than follow a path already paved by other femcees, Missy carved out her own niche with this genre-bending masterpiece.
7. Busta Rhymes - When Disaster Strikes
Busta Rhymes avoided sophomore jinx on the follow-up to The Coming. The album's tone ranged from seriousness to everyman goofiness.
6. Capone-N-Noreaga(CNN) - The War Report
Gritty, hardcore aesthetics permeated Capone-N-Noreaga's sole great contribution to hip-hop.
5. Puff Daddy - No Way Out
Propelled by the sensational Biggie tribute "I'll Be Missing You," No Way Out quickly became a commercial success, shifting over 500,000 units in its first week of release.
4. Wu-Tang Clan - Wu-Tang Forever
After struggling to fit all their discordant personalities on Enter the Wu-Tang, RZA's clansmen finally had wide enough canvass to paint their mafioso tales: a double album.
3. Wyclef Jean - The Carnival
Expect the masterpiece this album suggests and you'll be disappointed. Expect a mess of an album and you'll be pleasantly surprised by Clef's ingenuity.
2. Rakim - The 18th Letter
A sprawling, brilliant comeback album that further affirmed Rakim's ability to hold down his crown even without his partner, Eric B.
1. Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death
West-coast hounds say it's 2Pac's All Eyez on Me, College kids say it's OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, hip-hop purists argue that it's Wu-Tang Forever, but the age-old question, "What's the best double album in hip-hop?" is never complete without mentioning Life After Death.